Interview: Lindsey Stirling
Wed, 15 Jan 2014 09:40:53
Lindsey Stirling Videos
Lindsey Stirling shows that there's hope for the next generation and the music industry at large. She's a classical violinist in 2014, mind you, who has rightfully risen to star status on pure talent. On top of millions of YouTube views and a breakout America's Got Talent performance, her eponymous debut album effectively marries classical and electronic dance music in a manner that's undeniable. She proves all the industry naysayers wrong. If you've got this much skill and put the work in, you will get to the top. Pick up your instruments, kids...
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Lindsey Stirling opens up about the album and so much more.
Your album incorporates many different vibes and sounds, but it preserves a solid identity as well.
Totally! I think that's something I enjoy being able to do. You always want an album to have a cohesive sound to it. Seeing as I'm a violinist and I'm mixing that with electronica music, that gives me quite a wide range to go from while still maintaining my very Lindsey-type sound [Laughs].
How would you categorize that "Lindsey-type sound"?
I like to create music that's really energetic and uplifting. I want people to feel empowered by it. For me, it's all about the feeling you have when you're listening to it. Are you inspired? Does it make you feel magical? I think those are my favorite things to hear people say they hear in my music. There's an element of magic or they feel it's uplifting or inspiring.
Does that whimsy or energy thread the album together?
Yeah, I think so. That energy and positivity are what I hope pulls the album together.
What song from the album resonates with you the most right now?
"Crystallize" is definitely the most dramatic song. That has a really good range of emotion. That's why people are drawn to it so much. It takes you on this journey where it's a little bit somber and then it's very empowering in the chorus. That's also why I like "Transcendence" as well. It has such a victorious chorus that comes out of this little bit of a struggling verse. Those songs resonate with me because those are the experiences I think it takes to get through victorious moments. You have to get through struggle. Those songs capture that feeling.
What's "Crystallize" about?
It has a pretty deep meaning. Basically, it's about creating inner beauty in yourself first. It all comes back to research being done by a scientist who studied the crystallization of water. Basically, he'd test out water and look at it at a magnified level as it crystallized in different environments. If it was in positive environments where good things were being spoken to it, the crystals came out beautiful. Whereas if negative things were said to these little vials of water, these crystals where these jagged shapes that were meaningless. When we surround ourselves eternally with positivity and we create healthy and positive environments and we do good things for people and ourselves, we're made up of 70 percent water so the crystals in your body create actual literal inner beauty. That's what "Crystallize" is about. It's about taking control of your environment, creating beauty within yourself, and therefore creating beauty outside. I know that's pretty deep, but that's what it's about.
What's the story behind "Stars Align"?
That's the very last song I wrote for the album. I was down to the wire, and I really wanted to have twelve songs. What's interesting about this album, and I see this as I'm working on the new album, you create lots of ideas, and then you pick the best. For this last album, I literally created twelve songs. That's all I had, and they all ended up on the final. It's miraculous if you think about it. I ended up liking every single song. I used everything I had. "Stars Align" came at the last minute. At the last minute, I found a producer I liked. I met with him and within four days we created this song. That's why I called it "Stars Align", because at the time I thought, "A miracle has to happen if I'm going to have another song in five days". I felt like the stars aligned for me to finish the record. That's why there are twelve and it's called "Stars Align".
Is it important for the songs to have a visual element?
A lot of times when I'm creating a song, I'll be thinking, "What do I see?" Because visuals are so important to me, I think that's my favorite part of the process. Writing the music is exciting. To me, it really comes to life when I feel like I can make a video for it or put visuals to it. My music doesn't have lyrics so it gives it that three-dimensional space when it suddenly has a visual, a story, or an emotion heightened by the visual. For me, the visual aspect is huge. Half the time, that's the inspiration for the song. What do I see when I'm writing this? I get excited about the visual, and it seeds the idea as I'm writing.
What's the approach like when you write? Do you have something in mind on the violin or is it jamming?
I'll write the track basically. I'll meet with a producer and tell him the ideas I have. Basically, I always start with a vibe. I'll say, "I want this one to feel like happy or dramatic". We'll create the track together. I'll take it, jam, and improvise. Finally, something good will surface. Then, I go from there.
If you were to compare the album to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
I'd want it to be a fun adventure story. I don't know if you've ever seen Stardust, but that would be my movie. It's got mystical elements to it and touches of magic. It's very dramatic, but it's also got a very dramatic and moving story. The movie was really different. It felt like it was a new version of something made in the eighties and I love that.
What artists shaped you?
Evanescence is one of my favorite bands, especially Fallen the album with "Bring Me To Life" and "My Immortal". They were this perfect fusion of heavy music and pop. They took two things that hadn't been put together very well before and they did that fusion perfectly. They were my favorite band. When I was younger, I listened to a lot of Avril Lavigne. I wanted to be Avril when I was 14. Listening to Daft Punk and Passion Pit got me into electronic music.
Have you heard Lindsey Stirling?